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Racist language by Police officer

11 June 2018

In November 2015 two Police officers stopped a man riding a motorcycle without a helmet. The man later accused one of the officers who stopped him of making racist comments to him.

The following day both officers went to the man’s house to issue an infringement notice. There the man’s partner confronted the accused officer, and asked if he had made particular derogatory comments. The officer repeated the offensive words back to the man’s partner, saying that he had not used them.

In June 2016 the man was found guilty of assaulting the Police officer during another incident in November 2015. At trial, the presiding judge heard evidence alleging that the officer had used racist language when dealing with the man. The judge expressed concern about this, and raised those concerns with the Northland District Commander of Police.

Police notified the Authority in June 2016. Police conducted an investigation which was monitored by the Authority, and reviewed at its conclusion.

The initial Police investigation concluded that on the balance of probabilities, the officer involved had not breached the Police Code of Conduct. Upon further review the Police investigation concluded that, while there was conflicting evidence about whether or not the officer used the racist terms initially, he accepted that he had repeated them back to the man’s partner, and this was contrary to the Police’s core values.

The officer’s partner was found to have breached his duty to raise matters of inappropriate Police conduct with Police. Police completed their investigation into the matter in April 2018 and Police took appropriate action in relation to both officers.

The Authority agreed with the Police investigation outcomes and has recorded the matters of misconduct and breach of duty as upheld. The Authority has expressed to Police its concerns about the length of time the Police investigation took, and the initial conclusion that the officer had not breached the Police Code of Conduct.


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